“By your leave.” And with that Pavel turned and commenced walking with neither warmth on his back, nor an angry sun in his face.
Late next morning, he came upon two matching shoes more than a pace apart, lying in a careless, directionless position. He had not noticed that the woman he had previously been talking to was barefoot, so he did not assign them to her.
“This untidiness will not do,” he thought to himself, so he picked them up with hope of finding a quick reliever of his burden along the way. Since his time with the pocket-watch, he had learned that he was responsible for the road he left behind as well. He left the pocket-watch in ignorance, plus it could be considered an ornament, unlike these not-so-new ladies’ evening slippers.
When the afternoon sun grew tired of his absentmindedness and beat upon his head, Pavel apologized and wrapped the distracting shoes in his sash. Not immediately, the sun faced him in a friendlier manner and spread its rosy armed setting for him to enjoy.
It was in this light that Pavel came upon a man walking into a modest gate before a modest house. As he approached, he removed the shoes from his sash and called out, “Good evening. Begging your pardon, Sir, but I found these shoes along my way, do you know whose they are?”
The man stopped, turned, looked at Pavel’s face, looked at the shoes, then at Pavel’s face again, hesitated, then said, “Yes, they belong to a woman now estranged from this house. We have no use for them.”
After a brief silence, the man began to shift so as to turn back towards the house. Pavel said, “I don’t think she has any use for them anymore either.”
Both men turned away from each other, and Pavel decided to try to give the shoes back to the woman now estranged from that house, so that she could determine how they were disposed of.
The sun’s rosy and extended arms were fading to light pink and gray above his head. He picked up his pace.